Glenn Ciano almost damns his debut film before it starts, with
his stated claim to want to make a film that is a ‘nuts
and guts’ throwback to Eighties horror. But Inkubus
is actually far from the gory but vacuous films that emerged in
that culturally empty decade, instead being a decidedly modern,
nihilistic and unsettling tale of demons, both literal and emotional.
When a teenager is arrested covered in his dead girlfriend’s
blood, Detective Caretti (Joey Fatone) understandably has trouble
believing his story about a dark presence that popped up, chopped
the girl’s head off and then jumped out of the window. But
things take a bizarre turn as a mysterious figure calling himself
Inkubus (Robert Englund) arrives at the run down police station,
carrying the severed head, and proceeds to play mind games with
the police force, including retired detective Gil Diamante (William
Forsythe), who’s wife was murdered by Inkubus thirteen years
What follows is a mix of psychological mind trickery and graphic
gore as Inkubus taunts his ‘captors’ with confessions
of murders ranging from Jack to Ripper to The Black Dahlia, manipulates
them into acts of violence and engages in gruesome slaughter himself.
This is a tricky, fascinating film that benefits immensely from
Englund’s performance. All too often called on to chew the
scenery, here he’s subtle, quiet and remarkably chilling.
If the rest of the cast struggle to keep up, that’s no real
reflection on them.
Ciano is not adverse to gory excess – and some scenes, including
the opening ‘demon birth’, are entirely gratuitous
(this crude opening almost put me off watching the film), but
his film is at its most effective when the horrors are internal.
There are some impressively atmospheric visual moments –
though others look rather too flat, betraying the video source.
A bit of film look grading wouldn’t have gone amiss in the
more brightly lit scenes. The best bits – dark, moody and
eerie – suggest a filmmaker with a good eye though.
Inkubus is a lot better than you would expect
it to be. Not a perfect film by any means, but an intriguing,
entertaining horror tale that fans of edgy horror should find
to their taste.
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